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President: Raymond Hoogenboom

    My local duties as chapter president were to help coordinate chapter roles, maintain group communication, and help out each officer whenever needed. JALT-wide duties were to attend Executive Board Meetings (EBMs) in Gifu in February and Nagoya in June. Also connected with JALT-wide duties were to communicate urgent matters to our community whenever necessary and encourage our members to vote during the AGM in order to meet quorum for validation of meeting. I was on EBM-net until I got kicked off for calling people pompous windbags, which of course they are.
    This year, all primary officers and people in other large roles. I have expressed intentions of stepping away from their current positions. Some have expressed intentions of stepping away from active involvement. I cannot say how much appreciation I have for the opportunity to work with you all. That said, we have a need for others to step up. Because we do not have people stepping up despite calls for such action, I am going to propose scaling down the programs to 6/year and putting both Speakeasy and Summer Workshop in suspension.
    Finally, I would like us to consider: 1) having some meetings each year on Friday evenings, and 2) having some meetings outside of Maebashi, such as in Tatebayashi or Takasaki.
    I will no longer fill the role of Chapter President, but I will be open to another role, but only if we scale down the operations.

Membership Chair: Heather McCulloch

    Responsibilities included greeting visitors and members at the door, taking attendance, processing new full and local members, renewing existing full and local members, managing monthly membership lists, notifying members of upcoming membership expirations and thanking members by mail upon renewal.

Managing Monthly Membership

    On the first Monday of each month, the most recent membership list is sent by email.  The Membership Chair sends this list to the President.  The President then updates the chapter mailing list accordingly and sends out notices and reminders of upcoming events based on the revised mailing lists.

Sending Welcome & Renewal Notices

    Once the Membership Chair reviews the most recent membership list, renewal notices to members whose memberships will expire in the next month are sent out, and welcome messages to members who have recently joined or rejoined are also sent.  If possible, personal information such as exact expiration date, SIG participation and chapter participation are included to make each member feel appreciated. Personalized welcome messages were not sent to first time visitors but should be considered in the future.

Attendance at Gunma Chapter Events

    Attendance at monthly meetings has been quite good, with most meetings attracting between 11 and 26 members and visitors.

Other Duties

    The Membership Chair arrived early to all meetings, helped set up the room and helped anyone who needed assistance. Information about JALT and SIG membership as well as upcoming events were created and displayed on the welcome desk in photo frames to keep visitors and members informed.

My Personal Philosophy of Being Membership Chair

    The Membership Chair is the personal side of JALT. Often this is the first face that visitors and members sees when they enter the room. When someone is greeted with a big smile and a warm “hello,” they feel like coming to a JALT meeting is worth taking time out of what could have been a relaxing weekend.  By using the monthly membership lists, I was able to remember names and know interests by SIG membership.  I tried to incorporate this information in conversations to make people feel more welcome.

Program Chair: Michele Steele (Reported by Raymond Hoogenboom)

    Michele brought in a good group of presenters who covered a diversity of interesting topics. She also secured Dr. Charles Browne as the keynote lecturer for our Summer Workshop. Other programs were delivered by committee, including two MyShare events (one in Saitama and one in Gunma) and the Summer Workshop. Overall, it turned out to be a busy year with programs, as seen below.
    The Summer Workshop, as usual, was also more work than we anticipated beforehand. It is always stressful not to know until near the end whether the workshop will be well presented and well attended. Furthermore, it is the final two weeks before the workshop that is when the organizers get busy preparing the program pamphlet, the venue, the travel, the accommodations, the payment process, the snacks, and the lanyards. This year, however, the rewards were worth the effort as the program was solid and the group chemistry was warm and friendly. Many attendees shared that this year’s Summer Workshop was special and that the isolation and intimacy was rare and precious.
    This will be the last Workshop at Kusatsu Seminar House, however, as the facility is being let go by the federal university system and returned to the Ministry of Forestry, who will likely tear it down. It cannot be avoided.


2019/January 27th at Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College
    Navigating the Discussion of ‘Challenging’ Topics in High School and University English Classes” by Marian Hara   [ATTENDANCE: 11]

2019/March 17th at Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College

    “Digital ELT Tools for the 21st Century” by Paul Raine [Attendance: 16]

2019/May 19th at Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College

    Managing Special Needs Students in the EFL Classroom” by Jennifer Yphantides [ATTENDANCE: 27]

2019/June 9th at Maebashi Institute of Technology

    “Tech It From Us!” by Kayvon Havaei-Ahary & Jason Demsteader [ATTENDANCE: 11]

2019/July 14th at Saitama Shiritsu Sakuragi Community Center
    Fifth Dual Gunma-Saitama JALT MyShare Event   [ATTENDANCE: 10?]
  • Raising Children in Bilingual Environments” by Isobel Hook
  • “Trading Off, Not Trading Up: Perspectives on ELT in Eikaiwa and University” by Daniel Hooper
  • “Inferences in ESL Contexts” by Heather McCulloch
  • “The Effects of Translation Use on Advanced Student Attitudes”
by Azalia Zaharuddin 
  • “How Do We Assess Communication?” by John Larson
2019/August 25th at Maebashi Institute of Technology
    Fifth Dual Saitama-Gunma JALT MyShare Event   [ATTENDANCE: 18]
  • “The Montessori-Inspired Learning Centers at GKA Preschool” by Duangsamorn Haruyama
  • “Making Discussion of Global Topics Accessible to L2 Students Through Performance-Based Assessment” by Tyson Rode
  • “It’s Chat Time!” by Jeff Contreras
  • “Analysis of Cloze Techniques in Self-Accessed Language Learning Contexts: A Review of Clozemaster and Apps4EFL” by Fuad Olajuwon

2018/September 7th and 8th at Kusatsu Seminar House
    The 30thAnnual Summer Workshop in Kusatsu   [ATTENDANCE: 18]
  • “Vocabulary Acquisition Tools” by Dr. Charles Browne
    1. The New General Service List Project: Meeting the Needs of EFL Learners, Teachers and Materials Developers” 
    2. “Free Corpus-based Word Lists and the Online Tools to Exploit Them”
  • “Me, Myself, and Eye: Struggles of a Visually Impaired Student” by Heather McCulloch
  • “The Effects of Overseas Study on High School Students’ Second Language Memory Ability” by David Coulson
  • “How EFL Learners’ Usage of Communication Strategies is Influenced by Their Proficiency and Task Types” by Yuka Masutani
  • “What is the Best Vocabulary Learning Strategy?” by Hiroshi Mikami
2019/October 20th at Maebashi Institute of Technology
    “The Strengths of Introverts in the Language Classroom” by Heather McCulloch   [ATTENDANCE:     ]


    This is a system to grant a chapter or SIG member with the opportunity to present at the JALT International Conference for her/his very first time. Our representative this year is Heather McCulloch. If anyone is interested in representing our chapter next year or knows someone who might be, please let us know.

This year again, the Regional Professional Activities Committee (RPAC) has been coordinating events across Japan to offer regional events. The goal is to further develop collaboration between JALT chapters and other groups. The idea is to have regional events to help chapters have bigger events and pool their resources, while avoiding the doubling off efforts that might occur in some parts of the country.
In recent years, Gunma JALT has discussed the possibility of collaborating with Saitama JALT to make the Nakasendo Conference a truly regional one. This issue is not currently on the table, especially as Saitama JALT was not able to produce any conference whatsoever this year. All discussion with them is moot at the moment.

Summer Workshop: Raymond Hoogenboom

The Summer Workshop was a team effort, with John, Michele, Harry Sylvain, and Heather all chipping in significantly. 

30th Annual JALT Gunma Summer Workshop – in Kusatsu

    Eighteen participants took part in the 30th edition of the Summer Workshop, headlined by Dr. Charles Browne, Professor of Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Meiji Gakuin University. This year’s theme was Vocabulary Acquisition Tools. In addition to Dr. Brownes’s two keynote lectures, there were four other presenters. Of the 18 participants (including the featured speaker), the majority stayed overnight at the Kusatsu Seminar House. This facility has been leased by the federal university system with Gunma University as the overseer, so the cost was very reasonable, which allowed us to run an economical event (¥10,000 yen each for lectures, lodging and 2 meals). This venue, however, will no longer be accessible as the federal university system will no longer lease it, and it will likely be torn down by its owners, the Ministry of Forestry.
    The summer workshop is a huge project which can be quite stressful as the deadline nears and we do not have presenters or attendees. Then we must surge in our promotion and reach-out and call-for. Once the participants are set, we must get to work on all of the preparations with accommodations, travel, payments, program, and other duties. It is quite intense and dominates a good part of the precious peaceful weeks leading up the upcoming semester and school year.
    It has been discussed that perhaps we should shelve the workshop until we get enough enthusiastic and active volunteers who want to take on the large task.

Publicity: Stephen Howes (Reported by Raymond Hoogenboom)

    The Publicity Chair maintained Gunma JALT's e­mail contacts list as well as the distribution of notices to these members and affiliated ("Outside") members from other JALT chapters, or non­current members of JALT. All contacts were kept up to date and identical in two different platforms, Gmail and MailChimp. 
    Within the MailChimp notices are links to Gunma JALT's specific Facebook page, Gunma JALT's Twitter feed and the official Gunma JALT website.
    Steven has expressed that he will not be Publicity Chair next year, unless we really need him.

Treasurer: Harry Meyer

Through the 2018-2019 academic year, the Gunma JALT Treasurer’s duties and responsibilities included the following:
  • Preparing honorarium and receipts for invited speakers.
  • Collecting receipts at monthly meetings from Gunma JALT officers and reimbursing them for chapter expenses.
  • Compiling and submitting the monthly revenue and expense report to the JALT Central Office (JCO) accountant.
  • Balancing the deposits and withdrawals from Gunma JALT and Shinsei bank.
  • Preparing sufficient amount of funds prior to each meeting or special event.
  • Attending the annual Gunma JALT Kusatsu Summer Seminar 2019.
  • Receiving and managing participation and lodging fees for the Kusatsu Summer Seminar.
  • Working with other Gunma JALT Officers to compile, tabulate and prepare the yearly (2018-2019) chapter fiscal end of year report.

*Consideration should be shown to Gunma JALT Officers working during coffee breaks at meetings – especially the treasurer, who is responsible for reimbursing individuals, accepting fees, and issuing receipts. The treasurer would also like to use the bathroom and get a coffee and snacks before the presentation resumes.

Facilities Chair: Lori Ann Desrosiers and Hideto D. Harashima (Reported by Raymond Hoogenboom)

    Gunma JALT has been quite fortunate that, thanks to Lori and Hideto, we continue to have access to free space at Kyoai Gakuen College and Maebashi Institute of Technology. Both venues are: friendly, accommodating, and generous; spacious with pleasant atmosphere; well equipped with computers, projectors, and Wi-Fi; centrally located in Gunma; and easily accessible by train and automobile. Both facilities have allowed us to use their computer and overhead equipment for our presenters. That we never have to pay enables us to save money that can be used to bring in presenters and publish Speakeasy, as well as to hold a small reserve of funds for times in need. Hideto, Lori, and sometimes Fujieda-sensei have made themselves available to be on the premises or have made sure someone else was there. We owe so much thanks to Kyoai and MIT, and to Lori and Hideto. Moreover, thanks to Gunma University we were able to secure Kusatsu Seminar House at a very reasonable cost for our Summer Workshop. This year, the reservation was done by Ray. John and Sylvain helped out a lot with checking the place out and deciding on rooms and other matters.

Social Chair:Sylvain Bergeron

For each monthly meeting as well as at the Kusatsu Summer Workshop, I prepared coffee, tea, and snacks for the break time. Furthermore, I set up the snack table, cleaned up the leftovers, and emptied the garbage.
    The Social Chair has the duty of keeping hot water pots at home so that they can be taken to the venue when Gunma JALT has meetings at places other than Kyoai Gakuen College. Social keeps coffee, tea and snacks at home with hot water pots. If supplies run low, the Social Chair will make additional purchases. He or she will give the receipt to Treasury for reimbursement.

Speakeasy: Steve Ferrier

    Speakeasy has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me this year. It was my first time to be an editor of any publication and I am especially indebted to John Larson for his help and advice along with other members of Gunma JALT and also to the contributors who wrote such interesting articles which made my job of reading and proofing a lot easier. I believe there is a place for Speakeasy in the coming years at Gunma JALT. It not only gives new researchers an opportunity to publish their first article(s), but it also provides a sense of community for Gunma JALT members. My question to other Gunma JALT members is whether there needs to be a printed version or should there only be a digital version in the future in which instead of an annual copy being distributed, there is a continued updating of the website when new articles come in.
    As for myself, I have moved to Saitama and I would find it difficult to attend meetings in person in the future. I am glad for someone else to volunteer to edit the publication (or website?). If no one comes forward, I am happy to continue in the role as editor next year, if Speakeasy is to continue.

Recording Secretary: John Larson

    With the help of Stephen in Publicity and Phill on Website, I reported on our eight regular meetings and our workshop this year. The reports are easy to make, but as a local member rather than a national one, I was unable to post these reports to the JALT homepage. Stephen has been very helpful in this regard and I thank him. I also sent a copy to Phill that he used to update the website. You can read the reports under Previous Meetings on our home page. If volunteerism is waning, I propose that the next Publicity Chair should take on the duties of Website and Reporter. The three jobs are intertwined and combining them would cut down on a lot of time-consuming back-and-forth. 

Webmaster: Phillip Bennett

    I updated the site twice for each meeting, once advertising it, and then again reporting on the meeting in question after it was over. This year we discontinued online registration for the Summer Workshop with no adverse effects to attendance.

    I am sorry not so have been very active in this group. I just started a new job this year and am living between Gunma and Chiba. One suggestion I have is possibly doing something similar to what we do in the SALC here at KUIS. They are called LAb Sessions ('s basically an online mini-conference. This might be a way to addressing Speakeasy and the Summer Seminar by consolidating them into something new (e.g., Speakeasy Online Conference). I believe the software used for the LAb Sessions here is free. If that is not the case I am fairly sure something similar can be achieved via Google Hangouts.

Election Results

•    Chapter President - Heather McCulloch
•    Treasurer - Sylvain Bergeron
•    Membership Chair - Duangsamorn Haruyama
•    Publicity Chair - Raymond Hoogenboom
•    Recording Secretary - Raymond Hoogenboom
•    Social - Matthew Potter